The school building is a minor character, and probably the most unusual character, in the Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz. The reader is able to see thought bubbles coming from the school building, it seems to listen to what Sally Brown says, and Sally seems to understand it too, a strong relationship eventually develops between the two characters.
The school building is a difficult character to categorize. It is a real location, therefore it is not an obviously imaginary character like the Red Baron or the Great Pumpkin. However, although it thinks and feels it is not a "living character" like the children and animals in the strip.
In the strip from July 7, 1971, Sally shouts at the school building, taunting it by saying that it is summer vacation and, consequently, the school can do nothing to harm her. In the following days strip, she runs up to the building and kicks it. The school building does not react in any way to Sally's actions in either of those strips.
Sally begins talking to the school building on a regular basis in the strip from August 31, 1974, also the strip in which the building first responds to her by sighing. The building first appears with a thought bubble in the strip from September 2, 1974. To begin with, Sally hates the school building, seeing it as a symbol of the education that she does not want to receive. However, she quickly comes to enjoy talking to the building, considering that it, unlike the principal, the PTA or the Board of Education, is willing to listen to her complaints. In the strip from September 6, 1974, Sally compliments the building on having cool bricks. The school building's response is a thought bubble with a heart in it.
In a series of strips that originally ran between September 9 and September 15, 1974, Sally is unable to go to school because she is ill. She asks her brother Charlie Brown to talk to the school building on her behalf. The boy very reluctantly does so, feeling foolish the entire time. Someone sees him standing near to the building, assumes that he is writing on it and reports him to the principal. To his great embarrassment, Charlie Brown has to tell the principal the real reason why he was standing close to the building.
Having recovered from her illness and returned to school, in the strip from September 17, 1974, Sally thanks the building for having changed her life and stopped her from dreading coming to school. The school building responds with a thought bubble which says, "I can't believe it. Somebody loves me!"
In subsequent strips Sally continues to hold one-sided conversations with the building, the building occasionally finds ways to communicate in return, and Sally somehow understands it. Sally develops a relationship with the building, always talks to it, and shares her feelings with it.
The school seems to have feelings for Sally as well, and tries to reveal them, for example by dropping bricks on those who scoff at Sally for talking to an inanimate object. In the strip from October 15, 1974 the school building also drops a brick on Linus, after Sally tells it Linus is her boyfriend. The school says, "Treat her nicely, kid. I'm the jealous type."
Although the school building loves Sally, it suffers from depression, and gives up by just collapsing, and "committing suicide" in the strip from January 9, 1976. It is probably the only Peanuts character to "die" in any form.
The school's "death" greatly upsets Sally. However, when transferred to the school attended by Peppermint Patty, Marcie and Franklin in the interim, she speaks to that school building too, saying her old school spoke fondly of it. It is revealed that the other school building is able to think as well, although it never has as good a relationship with Sally as the old school. Construction of a new school building is eventually completed. Sally first speaks to it in the strip from September 7, 1976. The new building is also capable of thinking, its first thoughts being how unlucky it is to "run into a weirdo" on its first day on the job.
- The principal
- The principal's secretary
- Miss Othmar (Hagemeyer)
- Miss Halverson
- Mrs. Donovan